When designing a convergent product, industrial designers must define the form of the physical product, embodying the brand with shape and material. For the purposes of interaction design, they specify physical input mechanisms. Interaction designers can perform research into the users’ overall needs and the device’s goals as a whole. Industrial designers lay the groundwork for their concepts with competitive analysis and materials research. The input mechanisms should not be specified before the desired interaction paradigms are known.
Interaction iterations of the software’s primary elements should be conducted in parallel with industrial design concepts so that the outcomes of each can inform subsequent phases. Throughout, interaction designers benefit from the materials expertise and ergonomic acumen of industrial designers, and the industrial designers benefit from the holistic experience vision created by the interaction designers.
Much like the difference in skills between graphic designers and visual interface and information designers, a similar split occurs among the ranks of industrial designers. Some are more adept at creating arresting and appropriate forms for objects, and others emphasize logical and ergonomic mapping of physical controls in a manner that matches user goals and communicates device behaviours. The increase in software-enabled devices that use rich visual displays demands a concerted effort on the part of interaction designers, visual interface designers, and industrial designers to produce complete and effective solutions.